My spouse and I were trying to convince the 5-year-old to think about going to bed. It wasn't quite time, and he asked for a video. I tricked him by looking for something on NetFlix. We started to watch Charlotte's Web
. At first he wasn't sure, and was hoping I'd switch to one of those horrible YouTube videos that have proliferated to deaden the minds of small children. But, eventually, he let us continue with Charlotte's Web
, and even watched from time to time, in between adding on to his latest version of the Titanic, which he makes from LEGOs.
Anyway, we got distracted and didn't get the whole story. But then I started thinking what could be better than a story about a cute spider? So I decided to check a copy out of the library. Allegedly, my library has a kindle version, so I put it on hold. Then I noticed that those of us who had a hold on the book were in line to share exactly zero copies. WTF? Apparently, the license ran out. So, I broke down and borrowed the dead-tree version from them.
I have a vague recollection that my third-grade teacher, or perhaps the librarian, read some part of this book to us back when I was 8 or so. But I don't remember having read the book myself, and don't think I ever read it to my kids. What a pity. This is a great book!
So, we have a runt pig who is about to be killed. The farmer's 8-year-old daughter (or was she 9?), Fern, intercedes and agrees to care for the pig herself, feeding it from a bottle. She names the pig Wilbur and he thrives under Fern's care. Eventually, Wilbur is too big to be in the house, so is moved (sold) to the farmer across the road, who happens to be an uncle or something. Fern goes to visit every day and becomes friends with the pig and all the other animals.
One of the other animals taunts Wilbur about how he's going to be slaughtered for a Christmas dinner. Wilbur goes into a funk, but then hears a small voice from above. It's the voice of a spider, Charlotte, who befriends Wilbur and vows to find a way to save him.
So, Charlotte does, eventually, contrive to save Wilbur, and in the doing also manages to create quite a nice, loving community among all the other animals in the barn. Something like that.